20130511

Blanc-wall show or making the blank walls green

Patrick Blanc, a French botanist who has collaborated with architects like Herzog &deMeuron and Jean Nouvel, recently presented his work at MFA in Boston. His presentation under the title The Vertical Garden: Biological Design and Urban Architecture was very performative. One could easily guess that by the moment he entered the stage on a jungle-patterned shirt and green hair!



Patick Blanc during the show


Patick Blanc during Q&A

Patrick Blanc is known as the vertical garden inventor. In many of his projects, he populates blank walls with plants in wavy patterns. His plant designs include a lot of tropical biodiversity. His inspiration is driven by many plants and habitats, like karst and limestone cliffs, epiphytes, rocks and inselbergs, aquatics and rheophytes, root systems, and what he calls as plant architecture


Patick Blanc's office on water [Image source: Patrick Blanc] 
Patrick Blanc's home [Image source: Patrick Blanc
Patrick Blanc working at his office [Image source: Patrick Blanc





Patrick Blanc has been interested in the plants' architecture since the time he was studying the tropical forest, where plants need to adapt themselves in order to utilize the 1% of natural light. Due to this minimum light resources, the plants develop a sophisticated adaptation by open themselves up to occupy the maximum surface possible (without any overlap at their leaves). Out of the competition among species (fast versus slow plants), some species will survive (distinction and high variation). It seems that Patrick Blanc took this concept of the wide horizontal surface of highly varied plants in the tropical forest and converted to a vertical surface of plants in the urban setting. Many of his projects have more than 250 species. Questions evolve around which species to use, and which plants can go side by side to avoid diseases and parasites. Lately he has been interested to work not only in surfaces but to expand the concept into vertical gardens with trees, or even three dimensional projects. Although in many of his field trips he discovers instances that architecture and plants that co-exist and co-evolute (or perhaps plants taking over architecture), Patrick Blanc totally separates the two in his projects.
Patick Blanc's house and friend [Image source: Patrick Blanc
Another very interesting concept he mentioned is that of the "living." Patrick Blanc commented that some things are too old to be considered as "living." For example, it is out of scale to consider petrol as living even if it consists out of dead animals. Some of his projects include edible plants. Other very interesting concepts he briefly mentioned are that of the elongation of plants and the black hole plants created during night (eg. Herzog & deMeuron Caixa).
A typical drawing for his plantings [Image source: Patrick Blanc





One of his staircase plantings [Image source: Patrick Blanc









During his "show," Patrick Blanc commented indirectly on the role of media and possibly marketing by referring to the different audience reception his projects had between 1986 and 1994. Quoting his words: "1986: Nobody interested, 1994: (same project) big success." To further illustrate the root of his fame, he mentioned that it was first the Art, then the Interior Design and at last Architecture to acknowledge his contribution. This note gives a lot of hope to researchers and designers that are very devoted to their own work, and sometimes work by themselves for many years without anyone being very interested in them. What would I say? Nice days are coming!

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5/18/2013 08:04:00 PM  

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